“The voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight.'” Mark 1:3, NKJV
It’s almost Christmas…
Christmas. Some love it, others dread it. Some started early and completed their Christmas preparations and shopping weeks or months ago. Others live for the last-minute rush. Some love the minimalist approach while others deck the halls and everything to the utmost. However, no matter your preference, approach or attitude, preparing for Christmas involves time, energy and focus…usually leading to stress!
When I look around, the evidence of Christmas rapidly approaching appears everywhere. People scurry around getting ready for the special day. Church signs and mailers pop up at increasing frequency. The roads tell their own story—lots of distracted drivers and the accompanying accidents. People seem to feel stressed, overwhelmed and far from the Peace and Joy this season proclaims to be about.
Prepare for the King
How can we prepare for the King that’s coming? John the Baptist prepared the way for the Lord by crying out in the wilderness, letting people know that they needed to get ready. (Mark 1:3) Not their homes, yards and cars but themselves. He beckoned them to prepare their hearts for the coming King.
When Esther prepared for seeing the King, she prepared herself for 12 months! (Esther 2:8-17) The coming of a king is a serious event and preparing for his coming a serious endeavor.
Preparing for Christ or preparing for Christmas?
Christmas day we celebrate that the King, the Lord Jesus, came as a babe in the manger. If you believe in Jesus as your Lord and Savior, your King has already come into your life. If you haven't yet accepted his Lordship and Salvation, know that the King is coming.
As I get ready for December 25, I try to focus on preparing for Christ the King. After all, it's not a celebration of tinsel, lights and wrapped gifts. It's about Jesus. How Do I try to prepare for Christ instead of Christmas? Some thoughts:
- Focus on Jesus. Christmas exists because He came. Jesus Christ came to save us from evil and give us a new life. He is the gift. (Trying to keep my focus on him is not easy any day but extra hard during this busy season!)
- Relax in Jesus. It’s about Him, the coming King. He tells us that his yoke is easy and his burden is light. (Matthew 11:30) Ideally, preparing for Christmas will be infused by Jesus’ presence and peace. If something stresses me and draws me away from Jesus for too long I try to evaluate if it's really important or just tradition. (This year there are still no ornaments on the tree and Christmas cards won't be going out.)
- Give myself to do less. He wants me and time with me, not the trappings. (Easier said than done of course. I always feel a little guilty when I don't get cards out or leave other "expected" things undone, but I want to enjoy Christmas!)
What is your focus as you prepare the way for the Lord? Is it internal or external? The King He is coming. Are you ready?